Agri students raise a glass as their beer hits the shelves

Muddy Wellies’ story first began in 2006 as part of a business project at the agricultural university
Muddy Wellies’ story first began in 2006 as part of a business project at the agricultural university

Agricultural students are raising a glass in celebration as their own produced beer has finally hit the high street shelves a decade after initiating the idea.

Muddy Wellies ale, marketed as a ‘drink with sole’, is a traditional bitter ‘with a hint of Rye’. It is now on the shelves in three branches of Waitrose in Gloucestershire.

A group of students from the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) are behind the beer, which was created as part of a business project.

The retailer said it was attracted by both the taste and the fact that the drink is a Social Enterprise - meaning 10p from every bottle sold is returned to help launch RAU students’ new business ideas.

Muddy Wellies’ story began in 2006 after students in the Entrepreneurs Society created a craft ale with a local brewer which was sold in the university’s campus bar in Cirencester.

Now brewed by Friday Beer Company it has been available in a range of small outlets across the region in a deal with the local distributor Craft Drinks Co, before catching the eye of discerning buyers at Waitrose.

The beer now appears on the shelves of Waitrose in Cheltenham, Cirencester and Stroud beside established brands like Peroni and Punk IPA.

'Big journey'

Katy Duke, Head of Enterprise at the RAU said it's been a big journey for Muddy Wellies, with each group of new students taking it a little further along.

“Seeing the beer taking pride of place in Waitrose a decade after students came up with the idea makes us all proud and excited about where this might go now,” she said.

The enterprising group overseeing Muddy Wellies at this stage of its journey are students Amelia Bailey, Charles de Fierlant Dormer, Ben Middlewood, Konrad Thungen, Maria Perry and Gijs Smits Van Oyen.

David Goddard, Assistant Buyer – Local and Regional – for Waitrose & Partners said: “Muddy Wellies is a stand-out, great tasting beer that also supports young entrepreneurs starting their own businesses, so we’re excited about launching Original Ale into thee of our shops in Gloucestershire.

“This particular social enterprise is an ideal way for students to develop their skills and experience. The partnership with Friday Beer, with whom we have already been working with for the last year, has produced a product they can be proud of.”

Beer is not the only successful beverage to come from RAU. Cotswold Hills Dry White Wine, grown at its Down Ampney vineyard - is also produced, marketed and sold commercially by students.

Cotswold Hills has recently been shortlisted for a number of awards including Best Drinks Producer in the Western Daily Press Food and Farming Awards, as well as receiving a Silver medal for its 2017 vintage from Taste of the West.